ISSUE 45, July 2021
A LIFELONG PASSION
FROM THE ROAD:
BY SUSAN BLICK
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO
ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CC
BY CHARLOTTE E. JOHNSON
IMAGE OR ILLUSION?
THE ROLE OF NATURE
BY SHAUN BARNETT
WELCOME TO ISSUE 45 OF
NZ PHOTOGRAPHER MAGAZINE
If you've been pondering what's
involved in extreme macro
photography, how to get started with
Photoshop, and where you can still
explore off the beaten tourist trail in
Europe, this issue has the answers!
In Behind The Shot Johann Schutte
takes us through the intricacies of
preparing a Bluebottle fly for an
extreme macro photo shoot which is
sure to have you looking at those dead
flies in your windowsill in a new light!
Susan Blick shows us around Tirana, the
capital of Albania, we talk museums
and travel with Mark Trufitt, and back on home ground Shaun
Barnett discusses the role of nature photography with some mustfollow
nature first principles.
Charlotte E. Johnson is also here to guide you with her introduction
to Adobe Photoshop CC, the first in a series of articles which will soon
have you taking your photography to a whole new level whilst Ana
has us pondering what our photographs are worth – a million dollar
question that requires your input to make the photography industry
fairer and better!
Editor NZ Photographer
NZPhotographer Issue 45
Govett Brewster Art Gallery
by Lyn Alves
Foto Lifestyle Ltd
Susan is an award-winning
from New Zealand and
Australia who travels
extensively and leads
international photo tours.
She is currently based in
Istanbul, but is spending time
across the region throughout
Charlotte E. Johnson
A photography educator
helping photographers gain
skills and confidence, Charlotte
offers a range of workshops and
customisable tuition options.
An award-winning, full-time
photographer with a passion for
portraiture, she is a Lensbaby
Ambassador and an Adobe
Certified Expert in Photoshop.
Richard is an award-winning
landscape and wildlife
from the UK. The found of
New Zealand Photography
Workshops, he helps people
improve their photography
New Zealand's stunning
All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material appearing in this magazine in any form is forbidden without prior
consent of the publisher.
Disclaimer: Opinions of contributing authors do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the magazine.
BEHIND THE SHOT
WITH JOHANN SCHUTTE
FROM THE ROAD: TIRANA
by Susan Blick
A LIFELONG PASSION FOR PHOTOGRAPHY
INTERVIEW WITH MARK TRUFITT
MINI 4 SHOT PORTFOLIO
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CC
by Charlotte E. Johnson
WHAT ARE PHOTOGRAPHERS WORTH?
by Ana Lyubich
EXCIO TOP 10
IMAGE OR ILLUSION?
THE ROLE OF NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY
By Shaun Barnett
BEST READERS' SUBMISSIONS THIS MONTH
FROM THE ROAD: TIRANA
BY SUSAN BLICK
A LIFELONG PASSION FOR PHOTOGRAPHY
INTERVIEW WITH MARK TRUFITT
IMAGE OR ILLUSION?
THE ROLE OF NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY
BY SHAUN BARNETT
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Behind The Shot
With Johann Schutte
JOHANN, TELL US ABOUT YOU AND YOUR
PASSION FOR PHOTOGRAPHY...
I’m a clinical psychologist, so before I get to
photography let me tell you about ‘flow’. Flow occurs
when you become so engrossed in an activity that time
just flies and you’re hardly aware of biological needs
such as hunger. Flow is a psychologically very healthy
and restorative experience, and photography provides
this for me. I’ve always had a camera, as I grew up in
a home where photography was a common activity.
I slowly progressed from other genres to macro and
then to extreme macro, which is when you exceed
the 2:1 threshold. Extreme macro is special, because
it’s a complex, demanding form of photography that
captivates me, creates flow, and doubles my sense of
accomplishment when I get a pleasing result.
WHAT’S YOUR SETUP FOR CAPTURING EXTREME
Currently, my go-to camera for extreme macro is a
5ds. To accomplish extreme macro, I typically mount
an extension tube (100-200mm) on my 5ds, to which
I add a Kenko 5x diopter as a tube lens. After the
Kenko, I mount a suitable microscope objective,
such as a Nikon 10x CFI Plan. This constellation allows
me to shoot in the 5x - 13x magnification range.
When shooting in the 1x - 5x magnification range, I
typically use a Canon MP-E65 lens, which is a lens built
exclusively for macro photography.
I also use a Cognisys stackshot. This is a device
that allows the camera to be moved forward and
backward in micron sized steps, which facilitates
‘stacking’. Because of the minute depth of field that
inevitably occurs at magnification of greater than
1:1, stacking is a popular technique used by many
extreme-macro photographers - Stacking is essentially
a digital layering of images with software, so that
more of your subject is in focus.
TELL US ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHING THE
BLUEBOTTLE THAT WE SEE ON THE NEXT PAGE...
The pic, a profile shot of a Bluebottle fly’s head, is a 265
image stack at 5x magnification, executed with a MP-E65
Canon macro lens at F2.8. Illumination was with 3 Yongnuo
flashes @ 1/160. The Camera used was a Canon 6d set to
ISO100 and was advanced in 40micron stepsize.
I selected this shot for this feature because it
demonstrates the extensive sequence of steps
involved to get to the end result.
I avoid killing insects for the purposes of photography,
particularly ones I consider to be useful, like pollinators,
but I do sometimes harvest subjects off window-sills that
have been dead for a day or two, as in the case of this
On inspecting this Bluebottle fly under a magnifying
glass, it was clear that it needed to be cleaned and
restored. This involves as a first step, applying a typical
rubber air-blower to get rid of as much debris on the
subject as possible (as insects crawl around they pick
up cobwebs, pollen, dust etc.) I then usually bathe the
subject in a sonic jewellery cleaner for an hour or so. I use
a mild dishwashing detergent and water solution for this.
After the vibratory wash, I rinse the subject in the same
sonic cleaner in clean water for an hour. As subjects
often rapidly deteriorate post-mortem, I restore them
with a chemical product called Decon-90. Decon-90
is a laboratory cleaner which seems to serendipitously
also restore insect eyes and other parts. I usually bathe
the subject in a water based solution of this for 90-120
minutes, which restores the eyes quite remarkably and
‘plumps it up’. I don’t have the chemical background
to explain how/why this works, but it works well, except
if you overdo it as this will result in a dissolved specimen!
The last step is to dry the subject. For this I use rubbing
alcohol, which is water repellent. After submerging the
subject in the rubbing alcohol for a minute or two, I allow
it to dry naturally for 10 minutes or so.
If at this point the subject is still in one usable piece,
imaging can proceed. My imaging setup consists of
three units; the subject stage, light box, and Camera-
Cognisys Stackshot-PC interface.
I first mount the subject on the stage, which has up/down,
forward/backward, and lateral movement, and can
rotate, yaw, tilt, and pitch to allow positioning as desired. As
I’m sometimes working with really small or fragile subjects
like fleas or mosquitos, this can be quite challenging.
Once mounted, the subject is inserted into the light
box. This is where it is illuminated and where the light
source is properly diffused. The subject is inserted into
the central tunnel on one side, with the camera and
tube/lens entered from the other side.
by Johann Schutte
The camera and Cognisys stackshot now comes
into play. Depending on the subject depth and the
magnification, the starting and ending points, and
stepsize are determined. For a magnification of 10x, I
would typically shoot 150-450 images at 7 micron stepsize.
The shoot sequence takes about 30-45 minutes. This
is an automated process that is based on stepsize
and subject depth. The reason it takes so long is that
I allow at least 5 seconds to elapse between shots to
allow vibrations caused by mirror lockup and shutter
movements to come to an end. I use Zerene (software)
to control the shoot and execute the stacking process.
On completion of the stack, some post-processing is usually
required. Zerene has some useful built-in tools with which
the stacked image can be improved, but final editing
occurs in Photoshop. My post-processing routine, which
usually takes 2-3 hours, typically involves digital removal
of stubborn remaining debris, local and global contrast
adjustments usually with luminosity masking, frequency
separated edits, colour adjustments, and sharpening.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE KNOW?
If you’re fortunate enough to have a brick and mortar
building in which you shoot, you’re far more protected
from noise and movement-caused vibrations that
originate from outside the house. As I do my stacking in
a typical NZ timber structure, cars passing by the house
or a car door slamming cause unwanted sympathetic
vibration in the subject. You can actually see this on
the pc screen at 10x magnification! This is why I cannot
use continuous lighting, for which longer exposure time
(slower shutter speed) is necessary, and have to use flash.
I was very happy with this particular pic because the
subject was old, dirty, and deteriorated to begin with but
ended up well in my estimation. It demonstrated that my
method works however, I look to optimising my processes
continually. Since taking this pic, I’ve altered the diffusion
material in the light tunnel to achieve softer light.
WHERE CAN WE SEE MORE OF YOUR EXTREME
BEHIND THE SHOT IS PROUDLY
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NZPhotographer July 2021 7
From The Road: Tirana
by Susan Blick
8 July 2021 NZPhotographer
Shot from my apartment balcony in downtown Tirana.
Canon 6D Mk1 + Canon 16-35mm F/2.8L III USM
@ F6.3, 0.4s, ISO100, 28mm
Quirky Tirana is a mix of many things. It’s colourful yet non-conforming with a touch of
grunginess. It’s friendly, yet suspicious, it’s interesting yet has no attractions on a world
scale to speak of with only a few places you must visit, but everywhere you should
wander! If you’re the kind of photographer who loves premium sights you can pose
in front of, Albania’s capital city may not be the place for you but if you’re looking for
off the beaten path gems and odd finds I guarantee you’ll develop a little crush on
this ex-totalitarian socialist republic city.
Prior to Covid, Albania was one of the highest trending new travel destinations on the
planet according to Harper’s Bazaar. Luckily for me, the pandemic has held back
the masses and if you venture here shortly, you’ll be afforded one of the best value
destinations in the world.
Street art is everywhere in Tirana.
Canon 6D Mk1 + Canon 16-35mm F/2.8L III USM @ F5.0, 1/632s, ISO250, 35mm
EXPLORING THE CITY
On arrival, head for Skanderbeg Square as
everything fans out from here. Typical of a
communist square, it’s large and imposing, has a
massive ideological mosaic on the commanding
National Historical Museum and a giant Albanian
flag flies overhead, you certainly know you’re
standing in a revolutionary square!
The square has a few photographical points of
interest: the old Et’hem Bey mosque of 1821, the
clock tower up which you can climb the 90 stairs
for a 360 degree view of the area, and the Opera
Cafe with outdoor seating to people watch as
you sip your 3rd coffee of the day! Tirana has
more coffee shops per population and per area
than anywhere else in the world. It’s said that
after the fall of the socialist regime in the ‘80s the
cheapest investment someone could make was to
open a small coffee shop. Hence, there are now
thousands of them selling fabulous espresso for a
Once you have explored the square head northeast
to the Observator Bar and Cafe (you’ll find
it on Google maps) for a 13 floor-high view of
all Tirana and the surrounding Dajti Mountains.
A wide angle lens will help you frame the scene
above the apartment blocks. Go on a cloudy
day for dramatic skies if you can. There’s no
entry fee but a purchase of another coffee or
beer is appreciated. Due to the chest-high glass
encasing the rooftop it’s not possible to use a
tripod for long exposures or low light photography,
so you might as well come in the afternoon and
simply enjoy the sunshine and the views.
Just 100 or so metres away is the city market of
Pazaari Ri. It’s busier on some days than others but
I couldn’t quite figure out any rhyme or reason
for it. Nonetheless, the stall holders here are very
friendly and will happily pose for a photo if you
start a conversation. Remember people are quite
shy in Albania, a little unsure of outsiders, and
lacking English, so couple this together and it can
feel rather odd, but once you offer a smile and
take the lead, they lighten up quite quickly.
10 July 2021 NZPhotographer
Top: The view from the Observator Bar and Café.
Canon 6D Mk1 + Canon 16-35mm F/2.8L III USM
@ F7.1, 1/500s, ISO100, 16mm
Bottom:A shopkeeper in the Pazari Ri market.
Canon 6D Mk1 + Canon 16-35mm F/2.8L III USM
@F2.8, 1/250s, ISO320, 35mm
Another must see is the Pyramid of Tirana, originally
built as an ode to Communism and a museum to
Enver Hoxha, Albania’s socialist dictator of 44 years.
It’s currently having a huge makeover, so I couldn’t
venture inside and even taking a shot from the road
was difficult with the 6 foot high fence surrounding
the site! But based on the drawings and predictions
it will be one of the premier sights in the city upon
completion and the largest IT Hub in the Balkans. At
the time of construction, the Pyramid was Albania’s
most expensive building and it looks as though that
could be the case again after the refurbishment.
When you’re done at the Pyramid drop by the
Bunk Art 2 installation for some heart-rendering and
shocking Albanian history under ex-leader Hoxha.
This is an incredibly unique history museum preserved
inside a Communist-era nuclear pit bunker. Hoxha was
so paranoid that he hid himself away here where he
set up a bedroom and office. Photography is allowed
here and still life opportunities exist among the relics
of the period. However, it is rather dark inside, so a
flash or a good low light lens would be very beneficial.
There is an entrance fee of NZ$5.
OUT OF TOWN EXCURSIONS
Make sure you leave time for two nearby but out of
town excursions. The first is to Petrela Castle which has
free entry. Much of the interior of the 15th century
castle has been lost but the views, which extend
beyond the castle itself, are outstanding. Be sure
to take the small path around the edge of the cliff
for fabulous views over the Erzen Valley and back
to Tirana city. The best time to visit is morning as the
light hits the castle nicely - the earlier the better for
beautiful soft light. A wide angle lens is your best
choice for this sightseeing experience. You’ll have to
arrange a taxi to get here, look to pay about NZ$40
for the return trip with about an hour’s wait time.
And finally, perhaps the best half day trip in all of
Albania and definitely in Tirana is to Kruje Castle. What
a splendid sight it is! In fact, I’d go as far as to say
staying at Hotel Panorama here is a huge tip. If I’d
known just how good a sight this was with incredible
views all the way to Kosovo, Macedonia, and the
Ionian Sea I’d have stayed here myself. Indeed, if I get
the chance to come back I will! The best way to get
here is by taxi, a bargain for a price of around 5,000
Leke (NZ$65) for the return journey with a two hour
Perfectly preserved, the castle grounds are beautiful,
historical, and a great place to while away a couple
of hours. Lots of seating has been put in place to
allow you to take in the views and imagine the history.
Be sure to visit the church too, just a little down the
cobbled path to the left from the main buildings, it’s
been in place for over a thousand years. Planted
Drones are permitted in Albania but be sensible, no flying in aircraft zones or
over crowds of people. Here I used my ailing Mavic Air to capture Petrela Castle.
DJI Mavic Air 1 F2.8, 1/800s, ISO100, 4.5mm
12 July 2021 NZPhotographer
The streets of the ancient town of Kruje.
Canon 6D Mk1 + Canon 16-35mm F/2.8L III USM @ F/7.1, 1/80s, ISO160, 16mm
right beside the church is a 600 year old olive tree -
probably the largest, most magnificent olive tree you’ll
ever see! It was planted on the wedding day of the
Albanian hero Skanderbeg who held off the Ottomans
from this very castle. The streets surrounding the castle
are original cobblestone and you can tell they’re old
by how smooth they are. Shops line the streets selling
homemade, handmade souvenirs – no plastic, trashy
souvenirs to be found here. However, due to Covid
times the people are hurting, these stores came about
because of international tourism and with it vanishing
overnight and for such a long period the people who
changed their lives for us tourists are now left without
an income. Take your wide lens, such as a 16-35mm
for the castle proper and for the street. The streets are
narrow and rather enclosed, so a fast lens like an F/2.8
as is always the case for street photography will be
Insider Tip - On your way back down the mountain
keep a close eye out for a perfect view of the castle
framed by the mountains behind it. The best spot
isn’t long after you depart from the top. There are a
couple of switchbacks that allow you to look back
towards the castle and the mountains. Ask your driver
to stop once you have a clear view. A nice long lens
will be best here, I used my 70-200mm.
All in all, Tirana isn’t a city with world class sights,
let’s be frank. Instead, it’s a city to immerse
yourself in, nowhere in particular is better than
anywhere else for shooting. It’s all good, street
opportunities abound, and interactions with
people are easy to come by in the markets. I
found that after introductions, if I asked for a
selfie before whipping out my camera, they
were relaxed enough to pose for me. The lack
of a common language between us made the
encounter fun, don’t be shy because they are,
take the lead, be bold, smile lots, and Tirana will
share with you her hidden charms.
You can follow me to keep up with my latest posts
from the road:
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14 July 2021 NZPhotographer
download all back
A Lifelong Passion For Photography
Interview with Mark Trufitt
MARK, TELL US ABOUT YOU AND YOUR
JOURNEY WITH PHOTOGRAPHY...
Educated in Surrey, England I completed a
foundation course in art and design at Reigate
School of Art & Design. I had every intention of
doing a degree in photography but was talked into
taking Graphic Design and Illustration. Incorporating
as much photography in my degree course as I
could, I graduated in 1983 and pursued my career,
working for advertising agencies in South London for
three years. But I always felt a need to be involved
in photography so I joined a partnership in a sales
and promotion company and became creative
lead which meant I got involved in studio product
photography and the odd onsite model shoot. I
also became more active in social photography, I
wouldn’t travel without my trusty Pentax gear and
spent hours in the darkroom developing and printing
black and white film.
In 1992 I met my wife to be and visited New Zealand
(yes she was a Kiwi doing her OE), I loved New
Zealand so much that after nine years, I decided to
leave my partnership and move across to the other
side of the world and start a new life.
My first job was creative and production manager
for Cardmember Wines which involved hands on
studio photography of wine and other supporting
sales items. The major bonus was working with other
photographers such as Geoff Mason of Air New
Zealand and Huka Lodge fame.
I was with Cardmember for two years before deciding
to take a senior designer/studio managers position at
Apple Art in Gisborne. At this time my photography
had taken a back seat and after nine years I moved
on as I was offered a position at Te Papa Tongarewa as
exhibition (Day2) graphic production manager. Here
I wasn’t pressing the camera button but art directing,
working with amazing people and photographers who
were perfectionists. This is where digital photography
and pixel peeping started for me, it was especially
important around printing large format and backlit
images. I also started doing my own exhibition
portfolio photography at this time, after working on
some amazing exhibitions I wanted to keep a log of
those exhibitions for my own reference and also for
presentation when applying for other contracts or jobs.
After moving back to Gisborne in 2008 and building
our new house, my wife and I moved back up to
Auckland where I was offered a position at Auckland
War Memorial Museum as exhibition project manager.
The job was demanding yet very rewarding and even
though I was creatively hands-on, photography had
taken a back seat as I had no time for my hobby.
I became the exhibition manager/designer at Tauranga
Art Gallery in 2015, the small team delivering 25
exhibitions in one year. As I had twice project managed
the National Geographic Wildlife Photographer of the
Year touring exhibition at Auckland Museum, I was lucky
enough to have a third go bringing it to Tauranga Art
Gallery. I was also back into pushing the camera button
with product and gallery photography, this along with
learning about gallery and object lighting has helped
me with my general photography.
For health reason I gave up working at the art gallery
and after a brief 3-year career direction change
working in parts and service for the motorcycle trade
(I’ve always been a motorcycle fanatic and love
riding, touring with my wife, and watching racing), I
have now decided to get back into photography with
a potential to become freelance. Following on from
16 July 2021 NZPhotographer
my career background I plan to develop and find my
photographic style, focusing on maybe one or two
genres, with an aim to having an exhibition that I can
tour nationally by putting my experience in exhibition
development to good use.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO PHOTOGRAPH?
The things I love to photograph are wildlife, particularly
birds (which takes an incredible amount of patience
and stealth!) I have also just started doing landscape
photography and really enjoy the technical side
of setting up for long exposure scenes. I find that I
cannot resist taking sunrise and sunset shots, our house
is on a hill facing west looking at the Kaimai Hills so, just
about every evening, I get a lot of inspiration!
Having a huge interest in motorcycling, I nearly always
take my camera gear to racing events, these can also
be challenging shots to capture due to the speed the
bikes travel at. Coming from a graphics background I
also really enjoy abstract photography, commercially
I see this as an opportunity for my freelance genre. I’m
also planning to start macro photography, possibly
within a studio environment.
Sony Alpha 6400, 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS @ F6.3, 1/4000s, ISO800, 188mm
WHAT ARE YOU SHOOTING WITH?
Since digital came onto the scene I have always been
a fan of Canon equipment, using a Canon 350D for
Battle of the Streets 153
Canon 350D, 75-300mm @ F8, 1/1600s, ISO400, 125mm
many years, but this gear became old and was quite
low resolution so I decided it was time for an upgrade.
After some research and trials I decided to sell my
camera body and move allegiance to Sony. I sold my
Canon camera to a local student who was travelling
to the US for a scholarship in media and photography,
I thought this was a good chance to support someone
young so I threw in my lenses and bag together with a
few other bits.
In 2020 we were supposed to spend 6 weeks travelling
around Europe, I wanted to travel light and have
the ability to record video snips, so I finally settled on
the Sony A6400. For lenses, I have the Sony 16-50mm
F3.5-5.6 OSS and Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS. I’ve
also ordered the Sigma 100-400mm F5.6-6.3 which is
currently on its way as I type this, and I’m also saving
for a new travel lens, either the Sony 18-105mm or
18-135mm. I have two Lowepro camera bags, the
Slingshot SL 250 AWIII and the M-Trekker SH 150 along
with a Manfrotto BeFree tripod.
Although COVID put an end to those European travel
plans, I do still require my photography gear to be
light due to my passion for motorcycling. I really enjoy
carrying around the Sony Alpha 6400 with its light
titanium body and weather proofing, also enjoying
the fantastic focus tracking and flip up screen which
makes it a great blogging camera too. However, it is
not as intuitive as the Canon system and takes a while
to get to know the ins and outs of using the menu
items. I am now looking at getting a full frame camera
too, maybe a Sony A7IV when it arrives or possibly an
A7R III if I can afford it.
TRAVEL IS IMPORTANT TO YOU, WHERE ARE
SOME OF THE MOST MEMORABLE PLACES
YOU’VE VISITED AND YOUR FAVOURITE
PHOTOS FROM YOUR TRAVELS?
Having a strong creative background and working
in the Museum sector for many years I really love
anywhere with a strong cultural history. Europe
is amazing with changing cultures and history
everywhere, but having recently spent time in
Canada, I plan to go back. It’s such a vast country
with changing scenery, it’s like New Zealand on a
In 2016 my wife and I did a small tour from Canada to
Seattle with friends who live on Vancouver Island. We
drove to Seattle and toured up and across country
to the Okanagan, these photos (taken with my old
Canon EOS and a Sony DSC-W730) bringing back
memories of a fantastic trip.
On our first full day in Seattle after travelling from
Victoria on Vancouver Island, our plan was to visit the
Sony DSC-W730 @ F3.5, 1/400s, ISO80
Tavira Clock Tower
Iphone 4S, F2.4, 1/20s, ISO250
Sky Needle, which we did, but I was side tracked into
taking photos of the Sonic Bloom Sunflowers, these
amazing pieces of art were impressive against the
clear blue sky and very fitting along side the Seattle
I also loved everything about the Isle of Man, helped
due to my love for motorcycling. Not only is it a
fantastic historical place, but to visit when the TT’s
are taking part is an amazing experience. I have
folders of photos and videos from our trip in 2014 but
my favourite was barging through the crowds with
my camera to photograph Michael Dunlop with Guy
Martin congratulating him on winning the Senior TT
My wife and I chose to visit Tavira in Portugal
following our trip to the Isle of Man, we made the
choice due to the art and culture of the area with it’s
enormous history going back hundreds of years and
The hotel we stayed in at Tavira is surrounded by a
courtyard close to the foot of the Roma Bridge over
the Gilão River. An archeological dig is still taking
place underneath the hotel and as I was from a
museum background, they allowed us to go down
behind the glass viewing area to take a closer look
at the dig with relics that possibly date back to B.C.
IOM Senior TT Winner
Sony DSC-W730, F5, 1/125s, ISO80
The Clock Tower, St Maria of the Castle Church was
an iconic centre of town reference point that helped
when you visited the narrow paths and alleyways
around Tavira. This shot (clocktower) was taken with
my iPhone at night against a clear sky. (9:17pm
to be precise) I really like the way it was lit which
highlighted the towers brick work and maintained a
strong central reference point in the town at night.
Port Erin, Isle of Man
Sony DSC-W730, F3.2, 1/800s, ISO80
Canon 350D, 75-300mm @ F9.0, 1/640s, ISO400, 300mm
Sony Alpha 6400, 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS @ F5.6, 1/320s, ISO200, 50mm
WHAT TIPS CAN YOU SHARE FOR
CAPTURING SUNSET AND SUNRISE
I think the most important thing when you want
to take sunrise or sunset photographs is to have
a systematic process to practice, so that it
becomes second nature. Use a tripod and set
your shutter on delay or use a remote, this is
especially important on long exposures to settle
your camera. Even though not really necessary,
if you set your camera to bracket the shot, it can
be an advantage for post production especially
if you want to make HDR images.
Arrive early to set up your gear, make sure
you take a headlamp so you can see your
foreground objects and camera settings.
Choose where the direction of light needs to
enter your shot and check your frame edges
for composition. I recommend always shooting
in manual mode and double checking all your
settings before pushing the button.
Neutral density filters are fantastic for obtaining
longer exposures whilst smoothing out water and
clouds. F8 - F16 should be fine to get the most
of the depth of field, use manual focus and pick
a spot half way towards the horizon. Purchase
good quality filters as these require less colour
WHAT HAVE YOU STRUGGLED WITH THE
MOST IN PHOTOGRAPHY AND HOW HAVE
YOU OVERCOME THESE CHALLENGES?
Getting out and taking photos has been my
biggest struggle. I have, until recently, been very
time poor due to my work so getting motivated
has been difficult. However, there is nothing like
a new lens to get you motivated and getting
out to places that you know have potential
for the shot you might be looking for or going
somewhere new that you know has potential -
we live in New Zealand after all so it can’t be
Now I have more time, I really like to go out with
my camera and will generally plan my shots,
22 July 2021 NZPhotographer
Sunrise Mount Maunganui
Sony Alpha 6400, 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS @ F11, 4s with 6 stop ND filter, ISO100, 25mm
checking the weather forecast and making
preparations the night before for my sunrise shots
as well as planning for potential landscape shots.
I also research where birds are so I can further my
bird photography though this has been rather hit
I am also very critical of my own shots and
sometimes feel that they are not quite right and
have a tendency not to show them. This is both
a good thing and a bad thing as sometimes I
dismiss perfectly good shots, but I still think it is
a good thing to be self critical - something we
were taught at art college.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON SOCIAL
MEDIA FOR PROMOTING YOUR WORK?
I think that social media has its place and is a
great platform to exhibit one’s work, however
I do believe that dedicated photography
social media sites are far more useful and
exciting. Excio, for example, not only offers an
excellent opportunity to show off your talent,
but by viewing other photographers’ work gives
inspiration and motivation to experiment in other
genres and types of photography.
ANY INSPIRING WORDS TO LEAVE US
In a world where digital media is part of
everyday life I think that photography plays an
important role for everyone. Most photos today
are digital, very convenient and easy to show
on a phone or computer. However, I believe
that it is important to have something tangible.
Printing your images is the essential final step to
bringing your photography to life. This will not
only enhance your story but it will also make you
a better photographer.
WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU ONLINE?
24 July 2021 NZPhotographer
13 Days - Subantarctic
Expedition - 2021
22 December 2021– 3 January 2022
We have the opportunity to join Heritage Expeditions on a tour of the
Subantarctic Islands. On this 13 day tour, we will have both Richard Young
and Edin Whitehead as your guides and photography experts on the trip.
We will have use of the ships lecture theatre to use in the evenings/while
sailing to hold tuition and review sessions which will focus on capturing
amazing wildlife and landscape photographs.
New Zealand and Australia’s Subantarctic Islands are tiny havens for some
of the most abundant and unique wildlife on the planet. They are composed
of six groups of Islands. We will be visiting; the Snares, the Auckland
Islands, Campbell Island and Macquarie Island. Here flora and fauna are
densely concentrated: the number of indigenous plants and seabirds found
is far greater than that found on similar groups in the South Atlantic and
The Subantarctic Islands not only play an important role in the Southern
Ocean ecosystem - they also have a rich human history. From their
discovery 200 years ago, they were exposed to an era of exploitation. In
time we began to understand their true worth and treasure them for their
intrinsic value as wild and beautiful places. Visiting them is a pleasure and a
privilege. You will not be disappointed.
027 261 4417
Click here for
Print On Demand
Why not read your favourite magazine in print?
26 July 2021 NZPhotographer
Mini 4 Shot Portfolio
Our 4x4 feature showcases 4 mini portfolio’s of both
professional and up and coming New Zealand
photographers. The 4 images are linked in some way,
allowing you to get an understanding of what each
photographer is most passionate about capturing.
For a chance to get your own 4x4 feature in a future
issue of the magazine, become a subscriber here.
POCKETS OF HAPPINESS
NEW ZEALAND'S FAIRIE TERN
CITIES AT NIGHT
28 July 2021 NZPhotographer
I found my love of nature, before I found my love of
photography. I started to go out into the wild to help with
anxiety, the sounds, textures, and smells of nature soothed my
often racing mind. I then picked up a camera to share those
moments, those pockets of happiness, with others. When I am
not wandering through ferns and shrub, I am writing, drinking
coffee, eating way too much peanut butter on toast and
having dog snuggles with my best friend, Hemingway.
POCKETS OF HAPPINESS
My series of photos are pockets of time in nature that have brought me happiness and
peace. When I go into nature, I typically don’t go looking for these moments. Rather, I
sit still and patiently wait. Perhaps on the dewy grass, maybe on a mossy log, or on some
sand at a beach waiting for a moment to unfold.
The gannet image is one where the sunset was particularly striking. I was crouched down
on the viewing platform, taking photos of the many gannets that call Muriwai Gannet
Colony home during the breeding season. The place was a hive of activity with the
breeding season in full swing. This particular gannet looked right into my lens, making for
an interesting portrait. This is still one of my favorite photos to date.
The ocean wave image was captured during a sunrise in the city. I had woken up too
early on a Sunday, and rather than loll in bed, which most would understandably do on a
Sunday morning, I went for a wander to the beach. I perched on a rather uncomfortable
rock and watched the waves crash dramatically on the shore as the sun slowly rose. I
don't know how long I simply watched this nature show - minutes, hours, who knows? But I
did take an image as I wished to share the pocket of happiness I had found that morning
30 July 2021 NZPhotographer
32 July 2021 NZPhotographer
An Auckland based semi-professional photographer, most
of my work is centred on wildlife both on land and in the
water. During the past 4 years, photography has taken me
as far afield as Costa Rica for 3 separate expeditions to
capture some of Central America's stunning biodiversity. In
addition, pre-pandemic, I was an annual visitor to Tonga to
photograph the humpback migration. My key motivation as
a photographer is to raise awareness of the fragile state of
New Zealand's biodiversity through photography.
NEW ZEALAND'S FAIRIE TERN
This series displays New Zealand's most critically endangered endemic
bird; the Fairy Tern aka Tara Iti. Once found in healthy numbers around
the northern half of the North Island's coast, the Fairy Tern population
is now less than 50. With only 16 breeding pairs left, we are literally
watching a unique part of New Zealand's biodiversity tethering on the
brink of extinction as it fights for its survival as species. Several groups are
also fighting hard to avoid the Fairy Tern joining the shocking list of birds
that were condemned to extinction following the arrival of people to
Before the arrival of people, New Zealand was a group of islands that
created the perfect Garden of Eden for birds. However, the combined
effect of hunting by humans and the introduction of stoats, ferrets,
weasels, and possums into a country that previously had no bird
predators had a devastating effect on New Zealand's native birds.
Many of which were quickly wiped out, including the Moa, Haast Eagle
(the world's largest flying bird), Huia and Snipe.
Aside from predators, the demand for new housing locations and
recreational opportunities continues to place increasing pressure on the
Fairy Tern's essential habitat. We have several species of birds that don't
exist anywhere else on earth. The Tara Iti is deserving of our best efforts to
protect our most endangered endemic species.
Net proceeds of print sales for these 4 tern images will be donated to the
New Zealand Fairy Tern Charitable Trust.
34 July 2021 NZPhotographer
36 July 2021 NZPhotographer
Photography has been a casual hobby of mine since I was
about 12 years old. There wasn’t any particular genre I was
attracted to so I was happy photographing family, places I
visited, and motorsports. Later I was fortunate that a major
part of my job involved overseas travel and rather than just
capture what I saw it motivated me to venture out, visit
places I would not otherwise have visited, and do things I
would otherwise never have done in order to get the shot.
CITIES AT NIGHT
These four images together epitomise my approach to
photographing cityscapes. Where possible for my cityscapes, I
like to shoot in the evening before it gets completely dark. The
evening light ensures that clouds have structure and interest
whilst the various lights of the city provide both interest and
illumination of the structures and buildings around them.
In heavy cloud, where the sky is dark, the lights of the city can
provide the illumination of the clouds above. Patience is the
key and I will often arrive early and remain at a location for
hours to get the best light possible.
For me, the use of a tripod is an essential tool as it allows me
to take long exposures. Long exposures can improve detail,
contrast, and colour as well as allowing creative use of the
movement in the clouds and water.
The cities featured in these images are New York, Sydney,
Tokyo, and Wellington.
38 July 2021 NZPhotographer
40 July 2021 NZPhotographer
My father bought me my first camera when I was
6 so photography has always been with me from
that day. Most of my time behind the lens has been
with film cameras so I am still relatively new to digital
photography starting with a used Canon Rebel and
now with my Canon M6 mark II. Photography to me is
the privilege of capturing a specific moment of time
and the joy of sharing that moment with others.
This view of Herald Island in Auckland is one I pass by every day on
my way to work. It's a scene that so many pass by without much
of a thought however, it's all I could think of one week after being
inspired by a particular foggy morning
The weather forecast was for heavy rain, but I was determined to
try regardless, as there was a slight chance of mist on the water first
thing. It wasn't easy to get myself up before sunrise on a Saturday -
I'm not much of a morning person at the best of times!
It's not the first time I had set out to chase a lost cause either and
believe that they are always worth a chance. In this case, I didn't
get the exact shot I was hoping for but I was graced by the rising
sun and the mist up on the hills which came together in a beautiful
golden glow to create this magical scene. I felt privileged to be the
one to capture it.
The window I had was short and the predicted rain rolled in as I
made my way back to the car but I was glad I dragged myself out
of bed early on a Saturday morning to chase a lost cause.
42 July 2021 NZPhotographer
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44 July 2021 NZPhotographer
A Brief Introduction to Adobe
by Charlotte E. Johnson
“The picture that you took with your camera is the imagination you want to create
with reality.” — Scott Lorenzo
Photoshop: The software that strikes terror into the
hearts of many and disgust into others. “That’s been
Photoshopped!” goes the cry. I used to agree, being
of the opinion that an image shouldn’t need editing
if it was good enough when captured. Then I took
some photography courses which included some
editing and I conceded that small exposure and
colour adjustments could be useful, especially when
using RAW files.
Later, I took dedicated courses in Photoshop, not
because I wanted to, but because it would look
good on my CV. Despite myself, I became interested
in compositing and creating images that I could
never have captured in real life. Photoshop stopped
being scary and started to be fun. I landed my
current job partly because I had done the courses
and, after a couple of years of constant practice,
I became an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop
CC. From where I first was to where I am now, I would
have never guessed.
No doubt you’ve seen plenty of images which have
been ‘overcooked’ in Photoshop. I look back on
some of my old works and grimace. I think one of the
best things anyone can learn about Photoshop is to
know when to stop... But that’s not the purpose of this
article - here I will show you how to get started.
The basics of Photoshop are useful for every
photographer, regardless of preferred genre or skill
level. I would encourage anyone to learn Photoshop
over Lightroom or similar editing programs because,
one day, you might get to the point where you want
to go further with your editing, and you’ll be limited
with what that software can do. If you start off in
Photoshop, you’ll never feel restricted, and you may
even be inspired by the creative possibilities.
If you already have Photoshop but aren’t sure how to
use it, perhaps skip to Getting Started. The best way
to understand some of what I cover here may be
to read along with Photoshop open in front of you.
So set aside some time, grab a cuppa, and let me
introduce you to your new best friend.
WHY USE PHOTOSHOP?
When it comes to editing, the majority of photographers
are divided between Photoshop and Lightroom,
although other software is rapidly increasing in
popularity. I’m not going to tell you which one to use,
that’s up to you to decide based on what you want
to do with your images. Adobe states that “Lightroom
stays true to photography, while Photoshop lets you
create the images in your mind’s eye”. Compared to
Lightroom, Photoshop can perform a greater degree of
edits; retouching, compositing images together, adding
image filters, text and graphics if wanted, and so much
more. If you’re wondering how to make your image
pop, you can do the job in any editing software. If you
want to remove an annoying sign in the background,
edit your models’ skin without losing detail, change
out a dull sky for a more interesting one, head-swap
that person in a group photo who blinked, make those
mountains look more impressive, change day into night,
or overlay a texture… then Photoshop is for you.
Adobe now provides a subscription service which
is wrapped up inside their most recent branding,
the Creative Cloud. Think of the Creative Cloud as
a folder which contains all of the Adobe Software.
You can unlock which software you want to use by
purchasing a subscription but before you purchase
anything, you can download a free trial. All software;
Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. is downloaded, installed
and updated through the Creative Cloud. Before
purchasing, take a look at the available packages
because you may find a package which includes
other software (even if you don’t initially want it)
is cheaper than subscribing to Photoshop alone.
Just because you have subscribed to the package
doesn’t mean you have to have all of the included
software installed on your computer. One of the
positives of a subscription service is that you’ll always
have the latest versions. Adobe offers updates
regularly so, if you’re looking for online tutorials, try to
find the most recent one or, better still, find someone
(like yours truly) who offers tuition. For this article, I’m
using Adobe Photoshop CC version: 22.3.1.
The Photoshop Home Screen
When you open Photoshop (from here onwards
referenced as Ps), you are presented with a
Home Screen. You must open or create a file to
get into a Ps workspace with the Home Screen
popping up again if all files are closed.
As photographers, we’ll primarily be opening
our photographs into Ps rather than creating
new files. If you don’t like the Home Screen, you
can disable it so that Ps opens up straight into
the default workspace and files can be opened
through the regular File menu (just search
online for “How to disable the Photoshop home
If your image files are saved as .jpg or .tif they will
open straight into Ps. But if you open a RAW file
in Ps, it will pop up in a separate window which
is actually some pretty powerful software called
Adobe Camera Raw. Amongst other things, this
is where you’ll be able to pull the most dynamic
range (i.e. rescue highlight and shadow detail)
from your images. Camera Raw is very similar
to Lightroom and really deserves its own article
but for now, have a play and see what you get.
Know that those changes will be embedded into
the file when you open it into Ps but don’t worry,
the changes won’t overwrite your original RAW
At the bottom-centre of the Camera Raw
window you’ll see some text with the colour
space your image was captured in (sRGB or
Adobe RGB), the bit depth your image will open
in (8 or 16 bit), the image dimensions and MP
(megapixels) and finally the ppi (pixels per inch).
File properties as displayed in Camera Raw
This (see above) is telling you what properties your file will
have in Ps when you click Open in the bottom-right of
Camera Raw. If you click on this text, a dialogue box will
pop up where you’ll be able to set the image how you
want it. I recommend opening 16 bit images as this will
reduce banding in the image caused by gradations in
light or colour however, the file size will be much larger and
less powerful computers may struggle. There are ways to
improve the performance of Photoshop – have a search
online for how to do this.
THE PHOTOSHOP WORKSPACE
It might make for dull reading but getting familiar with
how Ps looks will help you navigate it and, ultimately,
make it easier to use. On the next page is a labelled
graphic naming parts of the workspace. The proportions
of the panels and text will vary depending on the size
of your screen. If you don’t see the same layout, go to
the application bar and select Window -> Workspace
-> Essentials (Default). The entire workspace is contained
within the ‘application frame’ which allows you to move
panels and windows around and to dock them within
other panels if desired. If you make a mess or accidently
46 July 2021 NZPhotographer
Parts of the workspace
remove a panel, you can reset the workspace back to
what it was (Window -> Workspace -> Reset Essentials).
Tools Panel: This is where you’ll find all the tools you
need to be able to edit. This panel actually displays
only a small selection of available tools – it can be
overwhelming but, as you learn, you’ll be glad of the
range. Luckily, the people at Adobe realise learning
the tools can be a struggle so they’ve added a great
feature: hovering the mouse over any tool in the
toolbar will pop up a small, animated graphic showing
what it does. Helpful! You might not have identical
icons displayed on your screen to the screenshots
shown here and that’s because most of these tools
have a hidden range which you can access by
clicking and holding on the icon until a sub-menu
pops up. Whichever tool you select from the sub
menu replaces the current icon in the tools panel.
Options Bar: Whenever you select a tool, you’ll see
a range of options appear in the options bar. This is
where you can adjust and fine-tune whatever tool
you’ve selected to do precisely what you want.
Almost every tool has a unique set of options, piling
on the already overwhelming heap of information.
You can get by without knowing much about this
to start with, but it is important once you get more
comfortable with Ps.
Application Bar: The top menus are found within the
application bar. This is where you can open and
save files, edit and transform images, make image
adjustments (destructively), create and alter layers,
edit type, alter and refine selections, choose and
apply image filters, render 3D, change the layout and
view, manage plugins, customise the workspace, and
find Ps help. Again, there’s a lot to take in from these
menu options, but you’ll find that you use some all the
time and ignore others entirely. Ps wasn’t made just for
editing photos – it is widely used by graphic designers,
web developers, digital artists, and many more – so
lots of what it contains can (thankfully) be ignored by
Panel Dock & Panels: Panels allow you to perform
different tasks, edit adjustments, and fine-tune tools.
The Window menu in the application bar allows you
to open new panels. Depending on what you select,
the panels can appear differently, as shown in the
graphic on the top of the next page which uses the
Brushes panel as an example.
Document Window: This is where your file appears
once opened. Multiple files can be opened and you
can switch between them by selecting the document
tab at the top of the document window. Clicking on
the x on a document tab will close the document.
Clicking and dragging the document will make it pop
out into its own floating window rather than being
You can pull panels around to position them where you want; dock them, or collapse panels into icons by clicking the tiny double-arrow located at
the top right of the panel. No matter how you customise panels within your workspace, the function remains the same.
docked into the application frame as it appears by
Application Frame: This is the frame which all other
parts of the workspace dock into.
Phew! That’s the workspace covered. Now, let’s get
on to the interesting stuff!
ADJUSTMENTS (PART 1)
In the application bar, the Image menu is where
you’ll find Adjustments. This menu contains a range
of options to allow you to make tonal and color
adjustments to your images. All of the adjustments in
this menu are what is termed ‘destructive’ meaning
they will directly alter the pixels of your image.
Sounds bad, right? Well, it is. Once these adjustments
are made, there is no way to independently alter
or remove them without undoing any subsequent
changes you made to the Ps file (RAW files are
not affected). There are times when destructive
adjustments are needed but I believe it’s important to
work in a non-destructive way wherever possible. This
means that, if you or a client changes their mind later,
you can come back to the Ps file and tweak individual
adjustments you made to that image without
affecting any other changes you made. It may sound
complicated but, trust me, it’s a much better way of
working and easy once you get used to it. To do this,
you need to learn about layers and masks and this is
what Ps is really all about.
It is normal to feel overwhelmed with the complexity
of Ps and learning a new software. If you are, this is
a great place to bookmark and come back to later.
Meanwhile, have a go at opening up one of your
images in Ps and try using some of these adjustments
to tweak it. Yes, they are destructive, but you can still
learn a lot about what they do and how to use them,
all the while getting used to the look and feel of Ps.
The next section in this article, History, tells you how
to undo any mistakes you made. If you don’t want to
work on your original image, you can work on a copy:
open your photo into Ps (if Camera Raw pops up, just
click Open) and you’ll see in the Layers panel, bottom
right, your image will be a Background layer. Rightclick
this layer and select Duplicate Layer. Click OK
on the dialogue box that pops up. You’ll now have a
copy of your image that you can play with as you like.
When you’re ready, come back and read on about
Layers and Masks. I promise it’s worth it.
48 July 2021 NZPhotographer
If you’ve been playing around in Ps and you’ve made
some mistakes. Edit -> Undo (whatever you last did)
will always be available to you but there’s a faster
keyboard shortcut: Ctrl - Z (Windows) or Command - Z
(Mac). Press both keys together as many times as you
like to undo one step at a time. If you made several
mistakes or want to keep track of what you’ve done
so far, you can use the History panel. This is set by
default to be the top-most icon in the panel dock and
is indicated by a set of 3 cubes with a curved arrow.
Click the icon to see a list of your recent history.
The History panel populates with every action you take in Ps but only
remembers a set number of actions. It is a safety net if you make a
mistake within this set number of actions.
Imagine you have a few sheets of regular plain paper,
each with something different printed on them,
stacked into a pile. You have made the equivalent of
Ps layers. You know there are several sheets of paper
in the pile but you can only see the top sheet. If you
take off the top sheet, you’ll see the one underneath.
That’s how pixel-based layers work (e.g. anything with
a photo or image, or created using a pixel-based tool
such as the paint brush).
Open up an image in Ps and you’ll see it in the Layers
panel. Typically, it will be named the Background layer
and it will have a little padlock next to it. This means the
layer is locked. You can’t do anything much with a locked
layer (options will be greyed out) so unlock it by clicking
once on the padlock and the icon will disappear. The
layer will now be named Layer 0. You can rename layers
by double clicking on the type of the existing name. If you
double click elsewhere on the layer, you’ll get the Layer
Styles dialogue box which allows you to add funky effects
and blending to layers (make a note to have a play with
this later). To the left of the layer name is a small thumbnail
image and left of that is an eye icon. Clicking on this eye
icon will turn the layer on or off so you can see the layer
underneath. Clicking on a layer once will highlight that
layer and you can then use the icons at the bottom of
the Layers panel (highlighted in the following screenshot).
There are usually many ways to do the same thing within
Ps, so I will just talk about my preferred methods for creating
and altering layers using these icons. Again, Ps helpfully
includes information on what the icons are if you hover the
mouse pointer over them.
From right to left; the trash can deletes layers, the + inside a square
creates a new layer, the folder icon groups layers together inside a
folder, the half dark and light circle opens the adjustment layers menu,
and the light rectangle with a dark circle inside creates a layer mask.
The fx icon opens the Layer Styles dialogue box and the chain icon links
multiple layers together so any adjustments made to one layer apply to
all linked layers.
If you open two images into Ps, they will appear
in 2 separate files. Click and drag the layer of the
first image up towards the file tab for the second
image, hold it there until Ps swaps over to the
second tab, then drop the file onto the second
image. Alternatively, copy-paste an image into
an existing Ps document and it will appear as an
additional layer. Either way, you should now have
two images on separate layers in the same file.
Create a new layer using the New Layer icon and
you won’t see anything change on your image
because the layer is blank and transparent until
you put something on it. When you create a new
layer, the new layer is automatically selected
which means you are now working on this
highlighted layer. Add some paint using the paint
brush tool to this layer and it will appear over the
top of the layer below. Don’t like what you did?
Erase it using the eraser tool – only the paint on this
layer will be erased. If you were to paint directly
on your image layer rather than this new layer, it
would be destructively changing the pixels and
the eraser tool would erase your image as well as
the paint you put down on it. The key to working
non-destructively is to never alter the pixels on your
original image layer by instead using additional
layers to make changes and edits. Yes, you can
duplicate your background layer and make
destructive changes to that copy, but there are
several problems with doing it this way (although
many do) including doubling your file size.
Re-order layers by clicking and dragging them
above or below (layers must be unlocked). To
reposition a layer, use the move tool and click
and drag the image. Edit layer size or rotation by
selecting the layer then clicking Edit -> Free Transform
and then play around with the toggles on the image,
press the enter key when finished. If you have several
layers, Ps may get confused about which one you
want to move, so it’s sometimes easier to move them
when using Free Transform.
Open two images and drag-drop one into the same
file as the other so there are 2 image layers (or copypaste).
With the top layer selected, click the mask icon
and a solid white square thumbnail will appear linked
to your layer in the layers panel. The most important
thing to remember about masks is that white shows
and black hides. Think of it like have a light turned on to
see (white) or off so you can’t see (black). The top layer
will be currently entirely visible because the thumbnail
shows all white. Click on the mask thumbnail to select it,
choose the paint brush tool and change the foreground
color to black (see screenshot below) – now paint on
the top image to hide parts of it. Why would you do this
instead of erasing it? One reason is that you can bring it
back if you change your mind or make a mistake – just
paint with white. Magic! You can do this the opposite
way too – invert the entire mask by first clicking on it to
select it, then go to Image -> Adjustments -> Invert. The
mask will invert from white to black and be hidden. You
can paint to reveal areas by painting white. If you see
paint on your image, you may be painting on the layer
rather than the mask – make sure to click on the mask
to select it before painting.
first and try using a setting of just 10% to blend an
image using a mask.
ADJUSTMENTS (PART 2)
Are you ready? This is where we combine all we’ve
learned so far about layers and masks in order to
effectively use Adjustment Layers. You can see a list of
available adjustment layers when you click the light/
dark circle icon in between the mask icon and the folder
icon at the bottom of the layers panel. Conversely, to
the destructive adjustments you can find in the Image
menu, adjustment layers are non-destructive because
they create a new layer for each adjustment. It may
seem like a lot of unnecessary faff to make adjustments
this way but, trust me, you’ll be glad you did. Adjustment
layers, no matter how many you use, do not increase
your file size. However, masks do, as do new layers with
pixel data. All adjustment layers come with masks so you
can refine where you would like the adjustment to be in
your image if you want to. Note that you must have the
correct layer selected to show the adjustment properties.
Clicking the mask will show adjustments for the mask
rather than properties for the adjustment layer – it’s very
easy to be caught out this way! Unfortunately, Ps is full
of picky little things like this which help to throw off new
users. If you’re editing in Ps and something isn’t working
the way it should, try to step back and work through it
logically, starting by checking you have the correct layer
Left: The highlighted area in the Tools panel
is where brush colours can be selected
by clicking on the square color panels
(foreground and background). Clicking on
the tiny black and white duplicate panels
above the foreground and background colors
resets the colors to white and black. Clicking
the tiny arrows swaps the foreground and
background colors. Painting with the brush
tool always uses the foreground color.
Masks can become as complicated as you want
to make them but I just wanted to introduce you to
the concept here. Layers and masks are the basis
of image compositing – have fun experimenting
with overlaying one image on top of another and
blending it in using masks.
A top tip for blending using masks and the brush
tool is to adjust the Opacity or the Flow of the
brush. You’ll find these settings, amongst others,
in the Options bar when you have the brush tool
selected. Lowering the opacity is effectively like
watering down your paint whereas lowering the
flow will effectively be like reducing the amount
of paint on your brush. Use one or the other at
The Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer was selected – you can see it has
appeared as a new layer above Layer 0 (background) and that it has a white
thumbnail, indicating a mask. The Properties panel above the Layers panel
shows where you can make the selected Brightness/Contrast adjustments.
50 July 2021 NZPhotographer
Even though there are multiple visible adjustment layers used in this file, the pixel-based layer (Layer 0) is still
visible, showing all of the adjustments made to it cumulatively.
Differing from pixel-based layers, most adjustment
layers are transparent. You can use several adjustment
layers and still see pixel-based layers below as seen in
the screenshot above.
BLEND MODES & OPACITY
Going back to our stack of printed paper analogy -
imagine that the top print is on a transparency instead
of plain paper. You can see some details of the below
image through the print and you can move it around
until you’re happy with the overlapping composition.
Next, imagine placing the stack of prints onto a light
box and observe the image shining through from
underneath. Both these examples are very similar to
what some Blend Modes do.
You’ve probably seen lots of images making use
of blend modes – blending images with portraits
has been very popular, sometimes termed double
exposure portraits because they can have a similar
look to a traditional double exposure. Try it yourself:
load 2 image layers into a single Ps file as before
and change the blend mode on the top layer. Try
out each blend mode to see what it will do. The
result each blend mode gives depends a lot on the
content of the image and the one below, so it’s
always a good idea to try each blend mode in turn
when trying to achieve a specific look. The most
popular blend modes for ‘double exposure’-look
images are Multiply, Screen, Soft Light, and Overlay.
You can safely ignore a lot of things in the Layers panel when starting off. All you need to do to set a Blend Mode is choose
one from the drop-down menu which by default is set to Normal. You’ll need more than one layer to see the effects of a
blend mode since it uses properties of the selected layer and the one below to display the resulting blended image.
An example of how using blend modes can affect an image. Here, the bokeh texture layer was set above the portrait layer and the blend mode was
changed to Screen. Model, makeup, and styling by Laura Macdonald.
Sometimes the best fit to blend an image with
another is simply to lower the opacity. The option to
change the opacity of a layer can be found next
to the blend mode in the layers panel and is set
by default to 100%. Lowering the opacity can help
make a composite more believable or achieve a
faded effect. This is also a great way to tone down
an adjustment layer if you feel it is too strong. Many
fine-art works are finished by adding a texture layer
set to a low opacity to give the image the feel of an
Once you’re finished editing, save your file using File
-> Save As. If you want to keep editing and save
all your layers, it’s best to save as a Photoshop file
(.PSD), but that this can only be opened by Adobe
software and the files are large. You can also save
all your layers by selecting a .TIFF if you prefer, but
these files tend to be even larger (though they can
be opened in more software). Saving as a .JPEG will
effectively merge all your layers together, flattening
them into a single file. This will compress your image
and there will be a slider for you to select the
appropriate quality according to the file size you
want to achieve. For images I want to use on the
web, I use File -> Export -> Save for Web (Legacy).
This converts my file to an sRGB colour space and
to 72 dpi, ideal for online use. I can choose a .JPEG
file type, set the image size and adjust the quality
as well as see the predicted file size change in realtime
using this method. .JPEG files are ideal for
everyday and digital use but most good printers will
expect .TIFF files at 300 dpi.
This article contains all the knowledge you need
to get Photoshop setup and to start playing.
Experimenting with what Photoshop can do can be
extremely rewarding and can elevate your images
to the next level. It will also help you get used to the
52 July 2021 NZPhotographer
One image from a set based on the theme of mental health showing the layers used to create the final image. You can see the original, pixelbased
layer at the bottom (Layer 0) and one more pixel-based layer at the top (Layer 2) which is all layers, merged, as the final image (shown).
Adjustment layers and masks are an essential part of my Photoshop workflow. Modelled by Natalie Thomas with assistance from Laura
Macdonald and Viviane Castro.
look and feel of Photoshop until it doesn’t feel all
that intimidating any more.
I’ve given you the very basics of compositing
images together – start off simple and work your
way up. With so much to learn, it’s easy to forget
what you did, so consider keeping notes on what
you tried and how you did it and get into the habit
of naming your layers with what you used or what
they contain, like the example below. Don’t be put
off by the apparent complexity of what’s going on
in this image – this is an example of my personal
workflow and looks more complicated than it
Don’t give up and remember that you don’t
have to struggle alone – Photoshop is such a
popular piece of software that there are no end of
resources to help you learn; magazines, YouTube
tutorials, online courses, and in-person tuition are
all available to you. I’ll be writing another article on
Photoshop which will add on to this one but, if you
can’t wait that long, visit my website cejphoto.com
to see what I can do to help you and check out my
images on Facebook and Instagram for inspiration!
I can honestly say that learning Photoshop has
been the most important factor in my personal
development as a photographer. So get those files
off your camera memory card and into Photoshop
and practice, practice, practice!
54 July 2021 NZPhotographer
Photo by Jakub Soltysiak
In our members-only Facebook group last
month we received the question “How do
we measure our worth? How do beginner
photographers know how to position their
worth in a saturated market? Are there
industry standards to pricing? And how
do we avoid amateur photographers
under pricing their work and devaluing
the market for photographic works?” It's
a million-dollar question and while there
is no exact answer I thought it important
to raise the issue with a wider audience.
There is a lot of misconception and
confusion online so let’s dig a bit deeper.
1. Cost scenario. Some suggest pricing
your work based on the costs incurred.
Having an accounting background I can
relate to that but as a photographer it
doesn’t make much sense. They say –
calculate how much you spent on getting
your photography degree, gear, time to
get to the shot etc and then estimate how
many photographs/prints you need to sell
in order to cover those expenses. What
about those of us who are “weekend
warriors” and never got any proper
education in photography – does it mean
our photographs are worth less even if
they are better than those produced
by “professionals”? Obviously this cost
scenario is not reliable, so let’s move to
the next one.
2. “Price your work in line with market
rates”. There is a lot going on with “the
market” which is currently governed by
big players who don’t give a sh*t about
photographers. Do you use Shutterstock
as your baseline, a company that sells
photographs for as little as $0.40 per
download or Getty Images who sell
photos to companies for $500+?
3. A smaller share of a bigger pie? Others
say you need to decide whether you
want to potentially make your work
more affordable for others and have
more sales or make it more exclusive or
limited-edition and wait for that bigger
So how do beginner photographers know
how to position their worth in a saturated
market? For amateur photographers or
those who have already gained enough
experience in the field but haven’t yet
monetised their hobby, the main thing is
to start somewhere. It's possible to sell any
photograph but you should first establish
yourself on the market in order for people
to start seeing “worth” in your photos. You
might have read the interview we did with
Parmeet Sahni, now a successful full-time
photographer, who found her passion in
newborn and family photo sessions – for
her it all started with a Facebook post
where she shared her daughter’s photos.
Don’t hesitate to take photos of what you
love and then offer them to a local group/
charity or company you know for free
(this is totally different from a company
asking to use your work for free and taking
advantage of you!). I once went to a
local farm festival and took photos of
some of the booths. I took their business
cards and later sent them a few photos.
This turned into a very fun photo shoot for
a lady who makes soaps and cosmetics.
I didn't charge for it because I knew that
the lady sharing the photos I took could
potentially bring me much more exposure
followed by other photo shoot requests
that I could charge for. I didn’t actually
continue with organized photo shoots
because I realised it wasn't for me, but
that's a different story!
Having talked to both sides – image
buyers as well as photographers
alongside exploring a variety of different
platforms whilst building our “Fair Trade
Photography” ExcioShop I realised it is not
so much photographers who “devalue the
market”, it's those international giants who
set the standard that buying photographs
for a few cents or indeed downloading
them free of charge (legally) is OK.
My mind boggled when I read the latest
update from the well-known platform
Unsplash inviting photographers to
participate in “Open source advertising”
which essentially means they now expect
photographers to take photos of brands
(e.g. someone drinking Coca-Cola) and
submit them to the platform for free.
Does this mean we are now expected to
Let's keep this question and indeed the
solution open - you are most welcome to
send your views, feedback, or ideas to me
Co-founder of the Excio
Photo Community and
Ana is a passionate
photography mentor. She
loves exploring the unseen
macro world and capturing
people’s genuine emotions.
Ana is always happy to help
other fellow photographers so
don’t hesitate to get in touch
with her at email@example.com
From more than 20,000 photographs published on Excio
by our members, these 10 made it to the top this month.
56 July 2021 NZPhotographer
Everything was united in this photo, heavy rain, gale force
wind, and a sunset like I have never experienced before.
Somnus, where Winter arrives and nature sleeps.
58 July 2021 NZPhotographer
I’ve been admiring a piece of work on the wall of my
employer’s head office by an artist named Kevan
McCollum. This is my twist on his image.
This wee guy was a little heart breaker. There is so much
thought and wonderment in those eyes! One of my
personal favourite images.
60 July 2021 NZPhotographer
Grovetown Lagoons are a natural wetland on the Wairau
plains near Blenheim. Peaceful and beautiful it is home to
a wide variety of birds and wildlife.
Winter leaves on my deck as
I learn about my camera on
a winter's day.
62 July 2021 NZPhotographer
BROTHERS IN ARMS
This is my all time favourite image I have captured whilst in the
NZDF. Although it is just a couple of the lads rehearsing some
drills, for some people it speaks far more volume. Do not worry
your hearts, the vehicle is an abandoned truck in our training
area that we use to practice immobilized vehicle drills.
I thought we had left it a little late in the season to look for fungi. We
went in search of this fungi on a track that normally takes around 20 mins
to complete... 4 hours later! We found a small group of these beautiful
specimens right at the end of our walk, when we thought we had missed
them - Such a treat!
64 July 2021 NZPhotographer
KNOWLEDGE IS LIGHT SUNDAY ADELAJA
BY KERRY BURTON
Aotea College, Porirua. I went to the College to take photographs of the
spectacular views of Porirua Harbour on site, but instead I was drawn to the lit
up columns at the College Administration entrance.
A very dreary day in Canterbury, New Zealand with lots of fog.
66 July 2021 NZPhotographer
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Image or Illusion?
The Role of Nature Photography
Words By Shaun Barnett
Mason Bay, Rakiura National Park Photo: Rob Brown
68 July 2021 NZPhotographer
When we make images in nature, what are
Representing reality, or creating an artful
And when we process an image, adding contrast,
vibrance, and sharpening, are we ‘improving on
Some of the photography I like to do is indeed
partly illusion. When I use a tripod, a suitable F-stop
for great depth of field, and a slow shutter speed,
I can render the run of a stream into a silky flow -
Something that cannot be recorded by the eye.
A friend who loathes this style of photography calls
it pornography; for him it’s a corruption of how he
Well, that’s landscape photography, you might say.
When you photograph birds, though, surely there
can’t be much illusion? I would argue that a superfast
shutter speed can freeze a moment in the
flight of a bird that is also impossible to see with the
So nature photography is at least partly an illusion.
Yet what draws us to make images of nature is real:
we photograph real places and real creatures, and
what we are attempting to capture is something of
the sense of wonder, wildness, or beauty, perhaps
to convey something of the awe we experienced
to those who were not there to witness it. Or
perhaps to document aspects of nature for our own
interest, or even science.
Another criticism of ‘scenic’ photography is that
it hides the ugly aspects of humanity, creating
another illusion. For example, Milford Sound, in New
Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, is a sublimely
stunning landscape. But photographs of it rarely
show the rows of buses, hotels, or crowds. Images of
Milford Sound are partly illusion: the camera faces
outwards, not backwards. Like much photography,
the image focuses the viewer’s attention on a
highly selective frame, one deliberately excluding
what is not scenic. But that is also the essence of
any photography: to exclude clutter, and focus on
And the fact is, the magnificence of that fiord is
real and still has the power to stir us. That’s why
400,000 people visit Milford Sound every year, in
spite of the crowds and tourism infrastructure.
The reason why scenic calendars still sell is that
– cliché notwithstanding – many people are
fundamentally still interested in and moved by
A kea, Mt Aspiring National Park, Otago.
Know the rules: don’t feed kea – it’s bad for their health. Photo: Shaun Barnett/Black Robin Photography
eauty, by nature. A hiker surmounting a pass also
feels stirred enough to try and capture that scene
on their point-and-snap camera or phone. Pure
and simple landscapes unsullied by the presence of
It’s easy to criticise ‘scenic’ photography as
just chocolate box ephemera, but that’s partly
disingenuous. Because anyone can take a picture,
it is easy to under-appreciate really good nature
photography. The best outdoor photography,
like the best poetry or writing, has a fundamental
power to inspire, challenge or galvanise people.
New Zealand landscape photographer Rob Brown
developed a distinctive photographic style by a
great deal of hard work lugging heavy packs and
handling the cumbersome machinery of a large
format plate camera. Brown photographs things
he cares about, and while he tends to photograph
landscapes without humans, a lot of himself goes
into the final image. Viewers often recognise
this, and that makes them rise up above a purely
scenic snapshot. His book Rakiura, The Wilderness
of Stewart Island (2006) was the result of months of
photography on the island, conducted over years.
Similarly, to dismiss the work of renowned nature
photographer Craig Potton is equally problematic.
Take his book, Moment and Memory, Photography
in the New Zealand Landscape (1998). Much
more of the book includes forest interiors, many
of which are chaotic, gloomy, and even slightly
disconcerting. There is nothing clichéd about
them: they depict Potton’s interpretation of the
often-complex nature of New Zealand forests. To
me these scenes are indeed far from scenic; they
instead invoke the foreboding that early Pākehā
(European) settlers must have felt when confronting
our almost impenetrable forests.
Potton’s landmark book Images of a Limestone
Landscape (1987) with writer Andy Dennis, helped
draw attention to the Paparoa Range, and the
photographs in it transcended the genre of scenic
photography. A few of them have become some
of the most recognisable nature images ever
made in New Zealand. They were taken as part of
a deliberate campaign to draw attention to the
plight of this forest, when there were plans to mill it,
and this work led to the area becoming Paparoa
Caver and tramper Neil Silverwood is another
photographer who uses his work as a tool to
advocate for nature. Silverwood has been a strong
advocate for a proposed Wild Rivers National Park
The Waitaha River, West Coast
Photo Neil Silverwood
Ice formations, Ruahine Forest Park, Manawatū.
Photo: Shaun Barnett/Black Robin Photography
in the central Southern Alps, and has also written
photo essays to advocate the value of rivers at
threat from hydro schemes.
Potton, Brown, and Silverwood are part of a long
tradition of landscape photographers whose work
is motivated by more than commercial imperatives.
All three have used their photography as a means
of expressing their responses to wild places to the
wider public, and their images have played a role
in saving places from desecration.
Likewise, in Tasmania, photographer Peter
Dombrovskis played a similar role. In the early 1980s
his one stunning image of Tasmania’s Franklin River
was so powerfully presented in a poster that it
generated mass protest over State plans to dam
this wild river, eventually leading to it becoming a
major and defining election issue, not just for the
State, but for the Australian Federal Government.
You could say that Dombrovskis’ one image was
the decisive weapon in the fight to establish the
Franklin-Lower Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.
In this way, these Southern Hemisphere
photographers are continuing the tradition of
American photographers like Ansel Adams and Eliot
Even 35+ years after his death, Ansel Adams
remains perhaps the world’s best-known landscape
photographer. His meticulous monochromatic
landscape photography helped to encourage
politicians to establish national parks such as
California’s Kings Canyon.
In the purest form of this tradition, nature
photographers focus solely on natural scenes,
although some like Brown, Silverwood, and myself
often present huts, tramper (hikers), or camps
in their scenes. Nature photographers less often
communicate such things as the impact of pests
or mass tourism. That might be the role of a
However, that is not to say that nature
photographers should not be careful and conscious
about what they do. Te Anau-based photographer
and conservationist Crystal Brindle is the New
Zealand coordinator for Nature First (https://www.
naturefirstphotography.org/), a growing worldwide
alliance of nature photographers who have
adopted seven principles. These are:
72 July 2021 NZPhotographer
Barrier Knob, Fiordland
Photo: Crystal Brindle
* Prioritise the well-being of nature over
* Educate yourself about the places you
* Reflect on the possible impact of your actions.
* Use discretion if sharing locations.
* Know and follow rules and regulations.
* Always follow ‘Leave No Trace’ principles and
strive to leave places better than you found them.
* Actively promote and educate others about
Brindle feels that the power of Nature First lies in
enabling photographers to lead by example and
to move from simply capturing the beauty of the
natural world to acting as ambassadors for nature,
building on the long history of photography as an
advocacy tool for conservation.
This is especially important in an age when social
media platforms allow people to access, share and
re-share photographs continually. We need to be
more conscious of not sharing specific locations
(or geo-tagging) when doing so might cause
problems to a sensitive area or species. We need
to recognise when an area is too delicate for us to
intrude. We need to respect the rights of wildlife.
We need to be more thoughtful about the impact
of photography, and to err on the side of caution.
We need to be conscious that when we share a
place on social media, others will follow.
Throughout New Zealand’s history, there have
been many times – even over the last decade –
when the government or industry proposes yet
more mining, hydro, roading or other destructive
developments on our conservation lands. The price
of conservation is eternal vigilance. And even
the converted need to be reminded about the
importance of this.
By interpreting nature with their own vision, perhaps
the chaos of a forest interior, the seductive line of a
mountain ridge or a water-worn river stone, nature
photographers can play a role in celebrating and
preserving our wild places.
related to flora this month -
try interesting perspectives,
close-ups, or simply capture
the beauty of our nature.
Submit by 15 July for a chance
to be featured in the next
issue of NZPhotographer.
Submit at www.nzphotographer.nz
74 July 2021 NZPhotographer
BEST READERS' SUBMISSIONS THIS MONTH
I am involved in the building industry and can appreciate the effort, craftsmanship, and
methodology to pull off the overall look of the design to the entrance canopy structure at
Auckland Art gallery. This was taken on an outing while looking for unique shapes and lines
to shoot in the city using my Sony Alpha A3000.
F7.1, 1/250s, ISO100, 26mm
One of the cranes on the Wellington wharf. Look up!
76 July 2021 NZPhotographer
GOVETT BREWSTER ART GALLERY
I was visiting my home town of New Plymouth after a long absence and was
astounded to see the new art gallery. The shape, form, and lines of the building
were a challenge to capture on camera, but it's unique for sure.
MODERN ARCHITECTURAL LINES
Looking up at the lines on an internal corner.
78 July 2021 NZPhotographer
LINES IN ICELAND
Harpa Concert Hall & Conference Centre, Reykjavík, Iceland.
I was based in London doing my OE and and met my cousins in Iceland for a
holiday. I Stumbled across this building when there and the lines on it were amazing
to look up at.
Sony RX100M7 @ F5.6, 1/320s, ISO100
A team of window cleaners abseiling down the outside of a new tower block in
Commerce Street, Auckland's CBD. Taken from Custom Street East.
80 July 2021 NZPhotographer
WOOD AND STEEL
This photo was taken outside the National Museum in Canberra.
The wooden floor is flanked by a steel sculpture and backed by a black steel wall
superimposing multiple patterns of linear features.
F8, 1/160s, ISO500, 100mm
Natural lines created on this tree were from ivy that had been growing
up the trunk, the ivy being cut at the source last year. I like the patterns
left by the ivy vine but with it no longer threatening to take over.
82 July 2021 NZPhotographer
F2.8, 1/25s, IS0320, 35mm
An early morning photography walk in Western Springs Park, Auckland, proved just the place for
photographing this month's subject of lines. I like the way the sun hit the roots of this amazing tree. I liked it
even better in black and white.
The art gallery in Melbourne, Australia, has some interesting architecture. In this photo
I try to show the seemingly haphazard lines that combine into an interesting format.
84 July 2021 NZPhotographer
In February I participated in the annual hike on the Otago peninsula organised by
the Harbour Cone/Hereweka Trust. This photo of an old stable on one of the farms
we traversed was converted to B&W for more impact.
This photo was taken in a friend’s dancewear shop. I was exploring how to
photograph the costume pieces in an interesting way when I was drawn to the
movement suggested by the pink ribbon edging on the lime green tulle of this tutu.
86 July 2021 NZPhotographer
THIS WAY AND THAT
@F5.3, 1/5s, ISO100, 65mm
This image of a red cordyline was taken in Picton in a friend's garden. I love using the intentional camera
movement (ICM) technique but rarely use it on plants or trees because I struggle to get reasonable results
using them as subjects. I was taking part in a five day mini membership session with the ICMPhotoMag
Network and on day 1, the main focus of the exercise was leaves. Arrggghh! Anyway, not being one to
give in easily, I took to my friend's garden and started experimenting... and had an absolute ball. This was
possibly one of my favourite images from that session. I just love the intricacy and delicacy in those leaves.
The movement used is probably best described as a sort of exaggerated shudder!
HOT AIR BALLOONS
Samsung S7 @F1.7, 1/10s, ISO250.
Hotel Atrium - Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid North Hotel, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
This photo was taken during the week of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October
2019. Lasting 9 days, hundreds of balloons have a mass lift off at dawn which is an amazing
88 July 2021 NZPhotographer
"I CAN WHISK YOU AWAY
TO PLACES YOU'VE NEVER
BEEN. TO PEOPLE AND
PLACES YOU WILL NEVER
Photo by Pamela Johnstone
90 July 2021 NZPhotographer